A fine bowling performance on a slow surface and a calm knock under pressure from Dhananjaya de Silva helped Sri Lanka level the T20 series as they beat India by four wickets. Here are our talking points from the clash at the Premadasa.
Four new debutants for India
With Covid wrecking their squad and eight other close contacts of Krunal Pandya forced into isolation, India were effectively forced to field an even more weakened squad. The likes of Chetan Sakariya, Devdutt Paddikal, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Nitish Rana- all strong performers in the last IPL, were given their international debuts in this format.
The visitors went into this clash with just five recognized batsmen and had Bhuvneshwar Kumar, normally a No.8 or 9 at best, batting as high as six. As coach Rahul Dravid put it, they had 11 players to choose from, and all 11 played!
Rain hurts India as Karunaratne strikes decisive blow
Despite fielding a depleted side and ending up with a below part score of 132, India gave it their all in the field and their spinners strangulated the hosts in the middle period. There was a brief interruption caused by rain at the death, and the wet ball seemed to hurt the visitors as Bhuvneshwar, normally so reliable, bowled a hit-me full toss that Chamika Karunaratne duly dispatched into the stands. It brought the equation down from 18 off 10 to 12 off 9, and was perhaps the blow that helped the Lankans win.
All to play in the third T20
Sri Lanka winning the second T20 has set up a tasty finale to this series in the form of a winner-takes-all third fixture, with the series currently tied at 1-1. Many sportsbooks in the country- India casino info has rated the top 7 sites here, suggest this will be a tight clash despite India having to virtually field a third string side. As mentioned above, if not for Bhuvi’s full toss, India might have easily edged the second T20 on another day.
Kuldeep makes international return
Nearly 18 months after playing last T20 international, Kuldeep Yadav was finally back in national colours. His 2/30 might not look impressive on paper, but on another day, with better DRS decisions and catches being taken by his team mates, his figures could easily have read 4/20. Both Sri Lanka and India’s spinners enjoyed the second T20 and Kuldeep will be relishing the chance of having another crack in the third T20. With India having won the first T20 and the Lankans the second, a strong performance here might see Kuldeep back in the reckoning for T20 World Cup selection.
A tale of two wides
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was perhaps lucky to get away with a no-wide call in the 19th over of the game. The Lankans were furious, but the umpires effectively made up for the decision in the very next over, when a very marginal call went against Sakariya. To make matters worse, Sanju Samson fumbled the ball and the hosts scrambled for a single- making it two runs scored without a ball being bowled. A tale of two wides indeed!